Between 15 and 19 October, the University of Westminster hosted a joint research seminar for PhD students at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS).

The seminar was held as part of a two-week educational visit from CACMS, an umbrella group for the top Beijing universities that conduct research on Chinese medicine. The group consisted of Professor Lianli Gao and seven first year PhD students, who went through two rounds of intensive interviews to secure their place.

As well as spending one week at the University of Westminster, the group visited University College London, London South Bank University and Kew Gardens to attend workshops and lectures on traditional Eastern medical treatments. Students observed acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments at Westminster’s Polyclinic and had the opportunity to give presentations of their research work.

The Westminster visit was coordinated by Dr Anthony Booker, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Plant Science, and Felicity Moir from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Sharing his thoughts, Anthony said: “It was great to witness the interaction and exchange of ideas between our PhD students and lecturers and the Chinese visitors. The quality of research presentations was of a very high standard and there were some lively and interesting educational and cross-cultural debates.”

Professor Gerda Wielander also gave the students a tour of the Regent Street Campus, enabling them to acquire a taste of what it is like to study in Central London.

Professor Gao commented: “My students and I all agree that this was a very rewarding visit to the UK. We were offered an outstanding experience and were inspired by the University of Westminster, and hope that this initial collaboration between our institutions will develop into a fruitful and productive long term relationship. Thank you again for your hospitality and for giving our students such a wonderful experience.”

Westminster PhD student Martin Fitzgerald, who is researching Chinese medicines, also said: “The seminar showed a great example of how Chinese academics have taken scientific thinking and successfully integrated it into Eastern medicine research. They have given us a glimpse of the great potential that exists for Chinese and Western scientists to collaborate, and I hope they will return again to share their great enthusiasm, knowledge and valuable perspectives.”

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